February is Black History Month. The theme for 2013 is ”At the Crossroads of Freedom & Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington.” This year marks the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation (January 1, 1863) and the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (August 28, 1963).
GMUSL’s Chapter of the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) and the Law Library have partnered to honor these important events in American History. Please take a moment to view a special presentation in the library display case near the atrium.
Black History Month was founded by the Association for the Study of African American Life & History (ASALH) at Howard University. For more information, visit the ASALH website.
Joe L. Allbritton made his fortune in media and banking, including ownership of eight television stations, the Washington Star Newspaper, and Riggs Bank. He also played a significant role in the founding of George Mason School of Law.
Allbritton was a board member of the International School of Law (ILS), which became GMUSL when it merged with the university in 1979. In the mid 1970s, the Kann’s Department Store in Arlington became available for purchase when the business closed. Allbritton signed a personal promissory note to secure a $3 million dollar loan to purchase the building and adjoining 14 acres.
Here is a 1979 photo of then law school Dean Ralph N. Norvell standing in front of the first law school building:
George Mason University , “George Mason University School of Law Dean, Ralph N. Norvell in front of the School of Law building ,” A History of George Mason University, accessed December 13, 2012, http://ahistoryofmason.gmu.edu/items/show/192.
Pursuant to 5 USC § 6103, Veterans Day is November 11 each year. Because this date was a Sunday, the holiday for Federal employees is observed today. All GMU Law Library services are following a normal Monday schedule: the library is open 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM, Reference Services will be available 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM.
GMUSL has a special commitment to serving our country’s veterans. Since 2004, the law school has provided a Clinic for Legal Assistance to Servicemembers and Veterans (CLASV):
The clinic enables Mason law students to represent servicemembers and veterans in a wide variety of litigation and non-litigation matters. Since its inception, clinic students have assisted over 70 clients from all five branches of the armed services, in litigation, adjudication and negotiation regarding consumer protection, administrative and military law and entitlements (TSGLI, PEB Boards and discharge upgrade appeals), family law, bankruptcy, immigration, landlord-tenant, contract, estate and entitlement matters in federal and state forums.
Students interested in CLASV will find additional information here.
The University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives recently launched a digital exhibition exploring the history of George Mason University. The exhibit “contains seven exhibits representing eras in the University’s development, featuring digitized documents, photographs, video, audio, and other artifacts from the University Archives.”
Items of special interest to the law school community include documents and photographs related to the merger of GMU and the International School of Law that created GMUSL. And here’s a photo of Hazel Hall’s namesake attorney John T. “Till” Hazel in front of the old law school building, circa. 1987:
A University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota) professor and three of the school’s law librarians have authored a citation analysis of scholarly writing by faculty in the “top third of ABA-accredited law schools.” The authors calculate a “Scholarly Impact Score” based on “the mean and the median of total law journal citations over the past five years” by tenured members of each law faculty.
George Mason School of Law is tied for 21st with Boston University. The most cited faculty members are Professors Bernstein, Butler, Claeys, Greve, Kobayashi, Lund, Mossoff, Muris, Somin, and Zywicki.
The paper, titled Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties in 2012: Applying Leiter Scores to Rank the Top Third, is available on SSRN here.
An article by Walter Olson in the Atlantic titled Abolish the Law Reviews! adds another chapter to the debate about the value and future of scholarly legal journals. Membership and publication in a law journal no doubt remains a valued credential. But will this continue to be the case? Olson posits that the real future for valuable academic scholarship is the blawgosphere and other virtual forums.
Olson also cites GMUSL’s Professor Ross Davies’s report, Law Review Circulation 2011: More Change, More Same. Davies finds that diminishing subscriptions “have ranged from near-freefall to mere steep-slide.” He notes that in the last year “no major law review had more than 2,000 paying subscribers.”
One positive aspect of the law review saga is the growth of freely available content. Many journals—including those produced by so-called “top tier” law schools— make at least the most recent issue of their publication available free online. Here are some resources for locating this content:
- ABA Legal Technology Resource Center. Search more than 400 online full-text journal/law reviews and related sources, including Congressional Research Service Reports. Coverage varies.
- BePress. Browse or Search over 90 law journals published in the Digital Commons open access repository.
- Dragnet. Browse or search approximately 150 law journals that provide free online content, including their most current issue. Searches may be limited to International or Environmental Law.
- Google Scholar. Limits Google search to academic journal articles, conference papers, dissertations, theses, indexes articles and abstracts from major academic publishers. Coverage and access to full-text varies.
- Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Widely used by scholars to share papers and articles in several topical networks. Legal Scholarship Network includes over 130,000 papers searchable by keyword, title, author or date.
GMUSL Students: If you have library fines above $25.00, a hold will be placed on your account and you will not be able to register for classes. Registration begins tomorrow, so please stop by the library and pay by check or cash (exact change, no credit cards). Questions? Call the Circulation Desk 703.993.8120.
The law library staff congratulates 2012 George Mason University School of Law Graduates!
Please remember that library services continue to be available to you after graduation. Student IDs are valid through October 8, 2012—so recent grads may reserve study rooms, check out books (until Sept. 30), and use the computer labs.
The library is open to the public, so please feel free to use our print resources and publicly available databases (includes in-library access to Keycite, Shepards, Bloomberg Law, and Westlaw Patron Access Terminals). Reference librarians are also happy to assist you in person, by phone, or via email.
Best of Luck Class of 2012!!
On March 2, 1979, the Virginia General Assembly approved “An Act to authorize the establishment of a Law School at George Mason University”:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
§ 1. . . . . [T]he Board of Visitors of George Mason University is authorized to establish a school of law in the University and to confer the Juris Doctor degree from such school.
§ 2. The authorization for the establishment of such school of law shall be contingent upon the conveyance to the Rector and Visitors of George Mason University the building situated on property owned by the George Mason University Foundation Inc., located at 3401 North Fairfax Drive, in the county of Arlington . . . .
1979 Va. Acts 182, 191.
The Law School’s Supreme Court Clinic, a partnership with Wiley Rein LLP, has been featured in a recent Associated Press story published in a number of news sources including the Washington Post, Fox News.com, and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. GMU students worked on the case Wood v. Milyard (No. 10-9995) argued on Monday.
Briefs for this case, and other Supreme Court cases (October 2003 Term - present), are available on the American Bar Association’s United States Supreme Court Preview page. An audio recording of the argument will be posted on the Court’s Argument Audio page after tomorrow’s Conference. The Court website provides access to argument recordings 2010 – present and Argument Transcripts 2000 – present.